Gathering and Greeting Space

Highlands United Methodist Church

Birmingham, Alabama

A historic landmark in Birmingham’s southside neighborhood, Highlands’ Spanish Revival Sanctuary was completed in 1909 and is the centerpiece of Five Points, one of the city’s most important cultural districts.  ArchitectureWorks led a master-planning process that would be implemented over a number of years, and has included collaboration with leaders and members to achieve a series of solutions for better connectivity of the campus.

In the first phase of implementation, the primary focus was reuniting the church campus.  Work began with the complex task of vacating a city alley separating the Sanctuary and Education Buildings.  A new Greeting Space was added to provide a bridge between the two structures and accommodate both horizontal and vertical circulation.

In a more recent phase, ArchitectureWorks focused on improving Fellowship Hall and expanding its capacity to serve multiple functions.  A new commercial kitchen serves the church’s licensed daycare and the congregation, while a separate volunteer kitchen provides meals and other services for a rapidly growing ministry to the underprivileged.  Other work included adding a formal serving area, laundry facilities, office space, and a new Bride’s Room.  New exterior spaces connect the fellowship hall to the exterior including an outdoor terrace and dining space to the north, and a new Columbarium and prayer garden to the south.


Preservation Award, Birmingham Historical Society, 2000